Carb Night Classic Features Two Levels of the Mazda Road to Indy
 May 24, 2016| 
  • Series News

Build-Up to the Historic 100th Indianapolis 500 Continues at Lucas Oil Raceway

PALMETTO, Fla. (May 24, 2016) – All three levels of the acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy development ladder, which offers drivers a range of Mazda scholarships to progress from the grassroots of the sport to the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in North America, will see action this week as the excitement builds in anticipation of the historic 100th Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend. Mere hours after the conclusion of Carb Day activities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will include the Freedom 100 – the highlight of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season – Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis will play host to rounds of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

The traditional “opening act” for the Indy 500 has been renamed the Carb Night Classic – “The Race Before the 500" – and will be held on Friday evening, May 27. The event also will include a round of the USAC Silver Crown Series.

Canadian Thompson on a Roll in USF2000
Former karting standout Parker Thompson, from Red Deer, Alb., Canada, endured a steep learning curve during his rookie USF2000 campaign in 2015 but is now enjoying the fruit of his efforts. Thompson has won three of the last four races – and has qualified first or second in each of the six races held to date – to open up a commanding 28-point lead in the chase for a Mazda scholarship to assist in graduation to the next step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, Pro Mazda, in 2017.

Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Anthony Martin, from Perth, Western Australia, currently lies second in the title-chase with one victory to his credit.

Pabst Racing teammates Jordan Lloyd, from Toowoomba, Australia, Yufeng Luo, who earlier this year became the first Chinese driver to win a race on the Mazda Road to Indy, and Garth Rickards, from Mechanicsburg, Pa., are seeking to emulate the form of Jake Eidson, who scored an emphatic victory for the Oconomowoc, Wis.-based team at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2015.

Martin, Luo, Thompson and Rickards finished fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth, respectively, at LOR one year ago, and will be looking to take full advantage of their experience.

Victor Franzoni, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, not only brings additional global recognition to the Mazda Road to Indy, he also has useful prior experience on the tricky oval after finishing third in 2014. Franzoni, who currently lies fourth in the points table with three podium finishes to his credit, will drive for ArmsUp Motorsports, which guided Aaron Telitz to Victory Lane in 2014.

Returning USF2000 veteran Luke Gabin (JAY Motorsports), from Australia, finished among the top 10 last year, while a strong rookie contingent will include 16-year-old Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y., fast-improving Brazilian Lucas Kohl (John Cummiskey Racing), who is coached by Formula 1 and IndyCar veteran Roberto Moreno, and Californian Dakota Dickerson (Afterburner Autosport), who won last year’s Mazda/Skip Barber National Championship scholarship to make the step up into USF2000 for 2016.

The Mazda Freedom 75, Round Seven in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, will be the only oval event during the 16-race season. Rookie drivers will take the track first at 9:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, May 26, for an exclusive 30-minute test before being joined by series veterans for an additional 30 minutes. The entire field have two more 60-minute test sessions at 11:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., followed by 30 minutes of official practice beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday’s activities will commence with qualifying at 4:00 p.m. The 75-lap race is set to start at 6:10 p.m. Live timing and streaming shows of qualifying and the race will be available on the Road To Indy TV App and at usf2000.com.

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